Weighted blankets are becoming more and more popular these days. They have been shown to help reduce anxiety, improve sleep, and soothe those with an autism spectrum disorder.
But is the hype true? What do we know about weighted blankets?
In this blog post, we will discuss what you should know about weighted blankets and answer most of the frequently asked questions.
Who Invented the Weighted Blanket?
Keith Zivalich invented the first weighted blanket. The blanket was intended to help provide deep pressure touch input—or firm grounding pressure in order to soothe those on the spectrum.
Weighted blankets were first created as a tool to help calm those with an autism spectrum disorder. However, they have been shown to benefit people of all ages, including children, adults, and the elderly.
Health Benefits of Using Weighted Blankets for Kids
Here are some of the noted benefits when it comes to utilising deep pressure therapy through a blanket with weights:
They Can Help Calm those with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Weighted blankets work by providing deep pressure touch input—or firm grounding pressure. This helps calm children with autism spectrum disorder because it produces a calming effect that helps to mimic the sensation of being held or hugged.
Can Improve Sleep
A study published in the Journal of Sleep Medicine & Disorders found that weighted blankets improve sleep quality in children. The study looked at 15 children between the ages of 7-12 who were diagnosed with either ASD or ADHD.
The study found that those who used a weighted blanket for 30 minutes before bed improved sleep efficiency—or percentage of time spent in bed actually sleeping.
Can Help with Focus & Concentration
In a study published in Occupational Therapy in Mental Health, the participants who used weighted blankets observed increased concentration and focus. In addition to focusing better, those with ASD were observed to communicate more effectively as well.
Can Provide a Sense of Security & Comfort
In children on the spectrum, weighted blankets can act as a security object. For children who crave deep pressure input on their bodies, this blanket gives them that feeling of comfort and safety. It can also help to remind some children with autism of the sensation they feel while being held by their parents.
Health Benefits of Using a Weighted Blanket in Adults
Similarly, potential health effects can be seen in adults who choose to use a weighted blanket:
Can Reduce Depression & Increase Positive feelings
A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that after just one night, those who used a weighted blanket showed reductions in depression symptoms as well as an increase in positive moods. The study looked at 42 adults between the ages of 18-55 who suffered from a major depressive episode.
Can Improve Sleep Quality
A study published in the Journal of Sleep found that weighted blankets improve sleep quality in adults. The study looked at 25 adults who suffered from conditions such as insomnia, restless leg syndrome, and chronic pain. The results showed that using a weighted blanket resulted in an improvement in sleep quality.
Can Reduce Stress & Anxiety
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology found that weighted blankets helped reduce stress and anxiety in adults. The study looked at 41 adults who suffered from a generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Can Increase Focus & Concentration
A study published in the journal Occupational Therapy in Mental Health found that weighted blankets help increase focus and concentration in adults. In addition, those with ASD were observed to communicate more effectively. The study looked at 31 adults who suffered from ADHD, OCD, anxiety disorders, and Asperger’s Syndrome.
Dangers for Weighted Blankets in Adults
- In adults with a sensory processing disorder, weighted blankets may cause overstimulation. For those with SPD, it is recommended to use a regular blanket rather than a weighted blanket.
- The weight of the blanket on your feet may make your leg muscles contract, which can cause immense pain. Instead, try placing the weighted blanket over your legs while wearing loose pants that are not elastic-waisted or spandex materials.
- Those with sleep apnea should avoid using a weighted blanket because it can worsen their disorder and cause them to stop breathing while they sleep.
- Weighted blankets pose a risk of injuring the person, especially when trying to get out of bed. If the person has Alzheimer’s Disease or Dementia, it is best to avoid using a weighted blanket.
Dangers for Weighted Blankets in Kids
- Just like in adults, weighted blankets can cause overstimulation in children with a sensory processing disorder. If your child has SPD, avoid using a weighted blanket.
- The weight of the blanket on your child’s legs may cause them to fidget more. If your child has ADHD or OCD, avoid using a weighted blanket.
- If your child falls asleep in class often, using a weighted blanket may worsen the problem. Weighted blankets can make it harder for children to wake up.
- Weighted blankets pose a risk of injury to children with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia because they can pull the blanket over their head which may cause suffocation.
There is no right or wrong answer to whether it is okay to use one of these blankets every night; it depends on your personal preference and health conditions.
Some people find that using a weighted blanket every night helps them sleep better, while others only use it when they feel anxious or stressed. Experiment with different ways of using the blanket to see what works best for you.
What Happens if the Weighted Blanket is too Heavy?
A weighted blanket should be heavy enough so that it feels snug and comforting but not so heavy that it feels uncomfortable or constricting. If the blanket is too heavy, it may cause discomfort or make it difficult to breathe.
A weighted blanket should be 10% of the weight of the person or animal using it. Always consult your doctor before using a weighted blanket.
Can You Sleep on Your Side With One?
It is recommended that people sleep on their backs, but some people do sleep on their sides. It is okay to sleep on your side with a weighted blanket as long as you adjust the weight of the blanket, so it feels comfortable and safe.
Advantages of Weighted Blanket
- May help with sleep
- Can provide a sense of calm and relaxation
- May help people with anxiety, stress, and ADHD
- May help improve mood
Disadvantages of Weighted Blanket
- May worsen symptoms in people with a sensory processing disorder, ADHD, OCD, and Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
- They are expensive
- May be too heavy for some people
- Can be dangerous if too heavy
Do Weighted Blankets Help?
There is not enough scientific evidence to say for certain whether or not weighted blankets help with back pain, arthritis, leg pain, restless leg syndrome, and depression.
Some people find that they help relieve these conditions, while others do not find them helpful. Try using a weighted blanket to see if it helps you feel better.
Can they Cause High Blood Pressure?
High blood pressure is more likely to occur when you are up and about while sleeping on your back. Therefore, using a weighted blanket while sleeping on your back can potentially cause high blood pressure. If this happens, reduce the weight of the blanket or alternate positions when using the blanket.
Are these Blankets Good For Older Adults?
Weighted blankets are not only good for adults, but they are also good for older adults. Weighted blankets can provide comfort to aging bodies and ease feelings of loneliness.
Should I invest in a Weighted Blanket?
If you are interested in the benefits of using a weighted blanket, then it is worth taking the time to find one that feels right for you. There are many types of blankets available, so try different types until you find one that is comfortable and relaxing.
Where to Buy one?
Amazon has a wide variety of weighted blankets to choose from. Try searching for a “weighted blankets Ireland” on the internet or browse through some department stores to find a type that interests you.
In conclusion, weighted blankets provide a sense of comfort and relaxation for many people. They may help with sleep, anxiety, stress, and ADHD. However, they should not be used by people with Alzheimer’s Disease or Dementia, and they can be dangerous if they are too heavy. Try using a weighted blanket to see if it helps you feel better.